A fracture of the 6th lumbar vertebrae. This patient also has a concurrent hip luxation.
Though many people would consider a spinal fracture a permanently debilitating injury with few treatment options, the prognosis for spinal fractures can be quite good. The outcome is dependant on the location of the fracture, degree of displacement, and primarily the neurologic signs present prior to stabilization. With patients who have maintained motor function or pain perception to their limbs the prognosis for return to function is good. If there is a loss of deep pain (meaning there is no recognition when extreme pressure is apllied to a digit) the prognosis for a return to activity is grave. Not all spinal fractures require surgical stabilization and many can be treated conservatively with rest and strict exercise restriction for 8 to 12 weeks. Surgical stabilization is required in some cases and will often speed the recovery in patients where conservative management would have also been affective. Dr. Wheeler has extensive experience in spinal fracture repair. During his residency Dr. Wheeler developed a technique to stabilize spinal fractures using minimally invasive percutaneous (stabilization through tiny incisions) stabilization using external skeletal fixation. This work won several awards from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons as well as the Veterinary Orthopedic Socieity and earned a Masters Degree from the University of Florida.